VILLANOVA, Pa. – For the first time in 31 seasons, the Villanova Wildcats are set to host a game in one of their original homes, known today as the Jake Nevin Field House. Penn (5-3 overall, 0-1 Philadelphia Big Five) makes the trip from Center City to meet the No. 4 ranked Wildcats (6-0 overall, 0-0 Big Five) in a venue that will pack in 2,220 fans – mostly students – into a building opened in 1931.
The game will be televised nationally on FS2 (Brian Custer and Donny Marshall) and can be heard locally on 610 Sports Radio (Ryan Fannon and Whitey Rigsby).
There have been 583 previous Big Five games since the City Series got underway in 1956-57. However, none have previously been played in the Field House. VU last played a regular season game in the Field House on Jan. 4, 1986, an 87-71 triumph over Marist.
“It’s going to be exciting to play a game in the old Cat House,” stated Villanova head coach Jay Wright after his team complete a practice in the Field House Tuesday. “To play the first Big Five game ever in here will be amazing. It was a thrill when we played Drexel in here in the exhibition game so I can imagine how electric this building will be for a Big Five game. It’s going to be an incredible atmosphere.”
As part of the festivities Wednesday night, Villanova will welcome 21 members of the late coach Rollie Massimino’s family along with upwards of 40 former Wildcats who once played in the Field House.
The Wildcats wrapped up the 2017 Battle 4 Atlantis championship last Friday with a 64-50 victory over UNI in the title game at Imperial Arena. Junior Jalen Brunson was tabbed the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and on Monday was tapped as BIG EAST Player of the Week. On Monday, VU moved up one spot in this week’s Associated Press rankings to No. 4 and they hold the same spot in this week’s USA Today Coaches poll.
The Quakers, meanwhile, are coming off a 101-96 victory at Monmouth on Saturday night that played out over four overtimes.
“Penn is a really good team coming off a big time win at Monmouth,” stated Wright. “They have better depth and are a year older from a team that went to the Ivy League championship game last season. This is a very well-coached, disciplined, skilled group coached by Steve Donahue.
“It’s going to be a battle. We expect that every time from Penn but each year under Steve they are getting better and better.”
The 2017-18 Villanova Basketball season is presented by KeyBank.